Born in Ethopia in 1970, Mehretu fled to America with her parents at the age of 7, where she became an American national.
Mehretu is known for distinctive mark-making and her technique of layering different elements and media. Her canvases, built up through layers of acrylic paint and collage marked with pencil, pen, ink, overlay different architectural features and geographical schema seen from different perspectives: aerial, cross-section and isometric. Her drawings are preparatory to her large paintings.
“ I think of my abstract mark-making as a type of sign lexicon, signifier, or language for characters that hold identity and have social agency. The characters in my maps plotted, journeyed, evolved, and built civilizations. I charted, analyzed, and mapped their experience and development: their cities, their suburbs, their conflicts, and their wars. "
Mehretu's works are held in the collection of the MoMA, New York and an 80' mural was commissioned for the Goldman Sachs tower in New York City in 2010.